When to engage a conveyancer when buying a house

Purchasing a house can be a stressful time.

From assessing what you can and can’t spend to scheduling inspections, attending auctions and open homes, there’s a lot to think about.

Buying a house isn’t something you do every day.

For some, it might be something they only have to do once or twice in their whole lifetime.

As with any big transaction, you want to make sure you do your homework.

But whilst most homeowners might carry out two or three inspections of a home before they buy a house, the contract of sale is often one of the last things owners thoroughly inspect.

So, how early in the process should you think about engaging a conveyancer?

Finding ‘the one’: How Tick Box Conveyancing can help your search

You should engage a conveyancer to conduct a pre-purchase review of the contract as soon as you find the house you want to buy.

Finding the right house can be an extensive and painstaking process.

First things first.

You need to find a house you like and can afford.

Our bread and butter at Tick Box might be property conveyancing services, but we pride ourselves on being able to help our clients with so much more than just getting to settlement.

Tick Box Conveyancing’s wealth of experience means we have access to a great referral network of fellow property professionals who have served our mutual customers well in the past.

If you are having trouble finding a mortgage broker or buyers advocate, then you can get in touch with Tick Box today to discuss your plans and receive some trusted referrals to the professionals you need to help better understand the property you can afford and find the house for you.

Once you’ve found ‘the one’, you should consider a pre-purchase contract review.

House Conveyancing Pre-Purchase contract reviews: What we’re looking for

As part of preparing the house for sale, the vendor (AKA the seller) would have had to prepare a contract of sale and section 32 statement (AKA vendors statement).

These documents can be made available by simply asking the real estate agent at the inspection to send you a copy.

If the property you’re looking at purchasing is going to auction, then it is vital you get in touch with Tick Box Conveyancing BEFORE the auction.

If the property is being sold via private sale, make sure you’ve had a pre-purchase review before you put in an offer.

A pre-purchase review of the documents will uncover any nasty surprises before you start bidding and make sure you have a full understanding of the contract and any conditions contained within it.

Contracts are changing rapidly in Victoria and that makes pre-purchase reviews more important than ever.

It is important that when you engage a conveyancer to conduct a pre-purchase review of the contract you tell that conveyancer what you plan to do with the property.

Are you hoping to build an extension? A deck? Install a pool?

Any of these sorts of works might be prohibited if there are restrictions on the title to the property.

If you’re looking at these sorts of works, a pre-purchase review is the first step to ensuring you will be able to do what you want to do with the property. If a pre-purchase review does not answer all the questions you have, then you may be referred to another expert, such as a town planner or land surveyor for example.

Other common things to look out for pre-purchase include:

  • unfair special conditions and default clauses
  • correct completion of the particulars of sale
  • finance condition
  • settlement terms
  • vacant possession v subject to lease
  • outgoings including land tax
  • special levies
  • orders
  • building permits, final approvals, and warranty insurance
  • measurements
  • owners corporation
  • title encumbrances
  • zoning
  • works in surrounding areas

Tick Box Conveyancing’s pre-purchase contract reviews can shine a light on these issues and provide you with plain-English advice on what steps to take next.

In the process of negotiating for the property, Tick Box can represent you in seeking alterations to the proposed contract or any of the conditions contained within it.

But I’ve Already Signed: Engaging a house conveyancer after you’ve signed a contract

Already signed a contract?

Get in touch with a conveyancer in Melbourne straight away.

As the purchaser, you may have access to a ‘cooling-off’ period of three business days after you’ve signed the contract – however, there are a number of notable exceptions where this does not apply.

Section 32 of the Sale of Land Act lists the following exceptions:

 (5) This section does not apply to a contract for the sale of land where—

        (a) the sale is by publicly advertised auction;

        (b) the land is sold—

              (i) within three clear business days before the day on which a publicly advertised auction for the sale of that land is to be held;

              (ii) on the day on which a publicly advertised auction for the sale of that land is held; or

              (iii) within three clear business days after the day on which a publicly advertised auction for the sale of that land was held;

        (c) the vendor and purchaser have previously entered into a contract for the sale of the same land in substantially the same terms;

If you do have access to a ‘cooling-off’ period, this window will give you enough time to engage Tick Box Conveyancing for a contract review, provided you engage a conveyancer immediately.

The opportunity for negotiation is significantly less once a contract has been signed, but at the very least a contract review after you have signed the contract will advise if there are any particular clauses or conditions in the contract which might prompt you to consider exercising your option to break the contract.

It’s worth remembering, however, that ‘cooling-off’ can cost you money, either $100 or 0.02% of the purchase price – whichever is greater.

Regardless, if you come to Tick Box Conveyancing once a contract has been signed, our expert team will go over the contract with a fine-tooth comb and help you understand what you’ve signed and help you plot a path to settlement all the same.

On the hunt for a new home? Learn more about our house conveyancing services for purchasers and get in touch with us today.